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What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

  • 1.  What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 04-27-2018 12:06 PM

    Hey!

    I'd love some advice. In thinking about creating a Fear Free shelter environment for pets, do you have a favorite technique, protocol, process or tool that you use to reduce fear, stress, anxiety or frustration? I'd love to hear about it- please share!


    #fearfree
    #dogs
    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment
    #shelter
    #cats


  • 2.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 04-30-2018 10:02 AM

    Hide-y boxes, Feliway on a stuffed animal, intake happens in a different room than where cats are housed, covers on one of the two housing kennels so a cat can hide if they want, towel wrap instead of scruff - basically any lighter handling when it is safe to do so, and quiet voices. Take a deep breath to slow you down can help a lot too.


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 3.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 04-30-2018 10:12 AM

    Thanks, Kristi!! I've never put Feliway on a stuffed animal before, love that idea!  That and deep breaths!!!


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 4.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 08-21-2018 12:50 AM

    I love Kristi's suggestions!  I use all of these techniques in my cat enrichment advocacy volunteer work.  Though I use a variety of feline calming sprays, both synthetic pheromone-based and herbal, on stuffed animals and cat bedding.  I especially like Nature's Miracle Just for Cats Calming Spray).  Here are some  additional tools & techniques  that I've found  effective in reducing shelter cats' fear, stress and/or frustration:  

    -Cozy bedding (at least 3 inches if possible for deep sleep.)

    -Offer my fingertip when greeting a cat ( before touching the cat).  Let the cat decide what level of interaction he/she wants.    

    -Slow blinks

    -Getting as close to the cat's eye level as possible to appear less threatening (while remaining safe) and turning sideways.  This frequently involves squatting down to interact with cats/kittens in lower cages.  I often sit on the floor.  Uncomfortable, but often effective.  

    -Calming music, particularly "Through a Cat's  Ear" (bio-acoustically engineered music for cats by Josh Specter) and  "Joshua's Harp" (harp music designed to calm animals by Susan Raimond).  I've  found these to be very effective!

    -Sound machine: Crickets and Babbling Brook settings.  

    -Spoon feeding stressed "social eaters" (cats & kittens) with a plastic infant spoon.  Also, some of the most well socialized shelter cats love being fed from a spoon!    

    -Frequent, but short, interactions for frightened / highly stressed cats.  

    -TREATS!

    -Training on basic commands such as "touch", "sit" & "high five".  See video of wonderful shelter cat Mr. Beanz demonstrating his skills :    https://ws.petango.com/webservices/adoptablesearch/wsAdoptableAnimalDetails.aspx?id=37576843&css=http://ws.petango.com/WebServices/adoptablesearch/css/styles.css&PopUp=true)

     


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 5.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 05-02-2018 11:50 AM

    Avoiding eye contact for most animals, and speaking in a low calm voice. Also, treating any pain/physical discomfort ASAP before any actual handling. So many animals come into shelters banged up, and getting that out of the way helps 1000%


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 6.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 05-02-2018 12:01 PM

    Whatever the species, slow down, calm down. Create a positive rapport and then begin to build trust. As a mentor of mine always said, "What is the truth as the animal sees it?" Give them space, give them choices


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 7.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 05-14-2018 08:22 AM

    I have an added question- We just held a vaccination/microchipping clinic for 240 cats and dogs.  Many fractious.... anything from Fear Free that could be used in that environment to help mitigate the stress?


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 8.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 05-15-2018 06:03 AM

    Hey Stacy,

    I have lots of different ideas.  I’ll share a few and see if others chime in. 

    • Separate dogs from cats. 
    • If there are super stressed or aggressive dogs, give them a number/placeholder so that they don’t have to be so close to other dogs while waiting
    • put towels over cat carriers
    • Use minimal restraint when administering vaccines but stay safe. Use muzzles when necessary 
    • lots of treats!!  

    Have you taken the fear free course?


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 9.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 05-16-2018 11:08 AM

    Hi Sheila;   Thanks for the suggestions.  I will pass them along.  For 240 cats and dogs there were 5 veterinarians and support teams.  There were two "cat tents" with a vet in each one.  People started showing up with their cats and dogs at 70 for a 10am start and the clinic went to 20.

    I haven't taken the Fear Free Course, but I did interview Marty Becker about the program and found it very interesting:

    https://www.communitycatspodcast.com/episode-121-marty-becker/

    In previous vaccination/michrochipping clinics we had 200 animals so this was bigger. 


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 10.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 05-15-2018 06:18 AM

    No advice but this is a great discussion.  


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 11.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 08-21-2018 02:49 PM

    I love Kristi B.'s suggestions!  I use all of these techniques in my cat enrichment advocacy volunteer work.  Though I use a variety of feline calming sprays, both synthetic pheromone-based and herbal, on stuffed animals and cat bedding.  I especially like Nature's Miracle Just for Cats Calming Spray).  Here are some  additional tools & techniques  that I've found  effective in reducing shelter cats' fear, stress and/or frustration:  

    -Cozy bedding (at least 3 inches if possible for deep sleep.)

    -Offer my fingertip when greeting a cat ( before touching the cat).  Let the cat decide what level of interaction he/she wants.    

    -Slow blinks

    -Getting as close to the cat's eye level as possible to appear less threatening (while remaining safe) and turning sideways.  This frequently involves squatting down to interact with cats/kittens in lower cages.  I often sit on the floor.  Uncomfortable, but often effective.  

    -Out of cage time.

    -Calming music, particularly "Through a Cat's  Ear" (bio-acoustically engineered music for cats by Josh Specter) and  "Joshua's Harp" (harp music designed to calm animals by Susan Raimond).  I've  found these to be very effective!

    -Sound machine: Crickets and Babbling Brook settings.  

    -Spoon feeding stressed "social eaters" (cats & kittens) with a plastic infant spoon.  Also, some of the most well socialized shelter cats love being fed from a spoon!    

    -Frequent, but short, interactions for frightened / highly stressed cats.  

    -TREATS!

    -Training on basic commands such as "touch", "sit" & "high five".  See video of wonderful shelter cat Mr. Beanz demonstrating his skills :    https://ws.petango.com/webservices/adoptablesearch/wsAdoptableAnimalDetails.aspx?id=37576843&css=http://ws.petango.com/WebServices/adoptablesearch/css/styles.css&PopUp=true)


    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment


  • 12.  RE: What is your favorite Fear Free technique or tool for shelter pets?

    Posted 07-12-2019 06:46 AM

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    #AnimalBehavior,TrainingandEnrichment